Film

‘This is Everything: Gigi Gorgeous’ Offers a Charming Exploration of a YouTube Star’s Transformation

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This is Everything: Gigi Gorgeous is an intimate and engaging exploration of gender dynamics and the curious, uniquely 21st-century alchemy of YouTube stardom.

Veteran documentarian Barbara Kopple captures Gigi Gorgeous, a young, indefatigably sassy transgender YouTube star who first gained notice on the platform as Greg, a gay high school boy adept at applying mascara and offering heartfelt advice to his many viewers. Kopple follows Greg’s transition into Gigi, combining YouTube excerpts, interviews with Gigi’s family and fly-on-the-wall footage of Gigi going through landmarks of her transition. She makes for so affable a subject that those not already familiar with her should still enjoy hearing her confidently deliver her life philosophies.

Gigi’s relationship with her father is presented with complexity: He expresses initial hesitation in learning to embrace the fact that his son is now his daughter. Kopple eloquently captures not just Gigi’s physical transition but her father’s emotional one as he comes to accept his daughter and take care of her after her surgeries. (The film doesn’t dwell on the other adversity Gigi faces: A scene of discrimination at an airport in Dubai at the end feels too quickly tacked on, and the painfully negative YouTube comments are only briefly addressed.)

In perhaps the most poignant moment, Gigi, having just received breast implants, goes to Victoria’s Secret and, surrounded by bras, acts like a kid in a candy store — a consumerist sign of womanhood becomes a sign of victory. Anonymous haters on YouTube can say Gigi is fake, but her enthusiasm here, and the enthusiasm her teen girl fans have in meeting her, is totally genuine.

This is Everything: Gigi Gorgeous

Directed by Barbara Kopple

Now playing, IFC Center

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